Category Archives: Southern Rock

Montgomery Gentry

It’s so easy to forget that artists are people with real lives and traumas, not just singer/ song-writers that gain life experience solely for the purpose of putting it in a song. Eddie Montgomery is the better half of the musical group ‘Montgomery Gentry’ alongside Troy Gentry. This past week, Eddie Montgomery’s son was involved in a fatal car accident, a horror I can’t even begin to understand. I spent my entire life listening to Montgomery Gentry on the radio in the car and never once did I wonder about either of their families, or the things they might be dealing with. Upon further investigation, I learned that Montgomery had to undergo treatment for prostate cancer, was divorced by his wife (in the same month), AND closed a restaurant he owned all in under a few years. Doesn’t sound like an easy road to walk to me. I couldn’t have told you ANY of that but I sure can spout their album history off from memory, I could probably hit most of their singles as well.

The duo released their first album in 1999, and ‘Lonely and Gone‘ is one of my favorite country songs to date. Their southern rock influence, in tandem with their small-town, proud and loud personalities makes them one of the cooler country music artists in my opinion, aside from Gentry being kind of a dick, I try not to focus on that too much (exhibit A of people blatantly ignoring a musicians personal life and only caring about their music), alongside my personal favorite Toby Keith. Steven Huey of Allmusic referred to them as “multi-platinum country megastars noted for a soulful twang and a big black cowboy hat” and “rowdy redneck rebels who still hold small-town values”, and I really don’t think I could put it better myself. From ‘Daddy Won’t Sell the Farm” to ‘Work Hard, Play Harder’ their sound has been consistent, rambunctious, and in my opinion, it’s been great.

I don’t know if its really a problem that in lieu of scandal or controversy American culture cares more about the song than the artist behind it, I mean to be fair the singers probably appreciate the distance it gives them. Hunter’s death just brought it to my attention. The personal lives of songwriters are the only thing that influences their songs and we care so little about one and so greatly about the latter.  RIP Hunter, and my condolences to Eddie Montgomery.


Filed under Blog Post 2, News, Rockabilly, Southern Rock

The Many Sounds of Zac Brown

A few days ago, one of my friends, who is a huge Zac Brown fan, shared a video with me on Facebook. It was of a performance they did a few weeks ago on Saturday Night Live with Chris Cornell. A song from their new album called “Heavy is the Head”.

This song sounds more like a heavy metal song than a country song, and my friend seemed rather shocked with this new Zac Brown sound. I can’t say I really blame him, and he probably wasn’t the only one. I think most people are accustomed to the “Chicken Fried” Zac Brown, and while I also think that he does a phenomenal job writing and performing country music, it’s pretty clear that he’s trying to move on and develop a new sound. I don’t think this is the first step he has made toward developing that new sound, either.

A few weeks ago, I picked up the latest album from the Foo Fighters called Sonic Highways. Now I know what you’re thinking, the Foo Fighters are not even remotely close to being a country band, and I completely agree. However, they have a song on this new album called “Congregation” which was written and recorded in Nashville and features Zac Brown on guitar.

This is clearly not a country song. Even before this new album though, Zac Brown and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters have been playing together. When Zac Brown debuted his song “Day For the Dead” on the 2013 CMA awards, it featured Dave Grohl playing drums onstage with the rest of the Zac Brown Band.

This song, to me, has a bit more country sound to it, and it features the classic Zac Brown beanie that everyone knows and loves. However, I think this is about the time that Zac Brown started moving out of country music and more into rock. If you go on YouTube, you can find a ton of videos of Zac Brown covering Metallica, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and a lot of other classic rock bands, and he does an excellent job of it.

Personally, when I got to high school I kind of started listening to more classic rock along with some country music, and to see someone like Zac Brown who seems just as comfortable performing new country music as he does performing oldies rock hits is pretty awesome. There are some people who probably think of Zac Brown as a purely country artist, but the truth is he and his band are extremely talented. With that kind of talent, I say if they want to mix in some rock and roll with country, more power to them.


Filed under Country Rock, Live Music, Music Videos, Southern Rock

Country Fascinated By Being “Homegrown”

One of the first words that come to mind when I hear “spring break” is road trip. Everyone leaves Austin and road trips somewhere, whether it be to Panama City, Gulf Shores, or just going back home. After making my way through the numerous midterms thrown my way, I made the choice of my spring break road trip to be driving the hour and a half trip home. As I drove home, switching between country radio stations the whole way, I realized that two songs in particular were played more than others. Not only were these two songs played a lot, but they also shared a very specific word in common: homegrown. I am talking about the songs “Homegrown Honey,” by Darius Rucker, and “Homegrown,” by Zac Brown Band.

Darius Rucker Homegrown HoneyDarius Rucker’s “Homegrown Honey” was released in August 2014 as the first single from his upcoming fifth studio album. The album, Southern Style, will be released on March 31, 2015. Rucker wrote the song with Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum and Nathan Chapman. It is about a country fish out of water that is turning heads. On the other hand, Zac Brown Band’s “Homegrown” was released on January 12, 2015. It is the first single from the band’s fourth studio album, Jekyll + Hyde, set for release later in 2015. They sing about a man satisfied with the life he has rather than what it could be.

Zac Brown Band SNLAfter noticing that these two were only released five months apart and how their titles very closely resembled each other, I began to notice that they both depict being “homegrown” as a positive trait for one to possess. They both talk about someone’s roots, in particularly southern roots, as a wonderful characteristic. While Rucker describes being “homegrown” as wearing boots and downing whiskey, Zac Brown Band describes a more simplistic “homegrown” as having a piece of land in the countryside. Both use southern stereotypes found throughout any country song today.

However, Darius Rucker and Zac Brown Band are not the first and only ones to write about being homegrown, or having southern roots. Other recordings from the country music genre include songs such as Jason Aldean’s “She’s Country,” and Miranda Lambert’s song, written for a series of Ram Truck ads, “Roots and Wings.” Both really hook onto the word “roots.” Aldean and Lambert describe the stereotypical southern symbols just as Rucker and Zac Brown Band. Aldean uses symbols such as cowboy boots and down home roots, while Lambert uses guitar strings and calluses to represent her father’s roots and mother’s wings.

Why is country music so fascinated with being “homegrown” or having “down home roots”? Do they sing these songs for their typical listeners, who are from more rural backgrounds? Or is it just a topic they know will sell?

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Filed under Bro Country, Country Rock, Country Symbols, Music Videos, New Country, Song Analysis, Southern Rock